The maritime industry’s rapid adoption of the Starlink satcom service from Elon Musks’s SpaceX shows no sign of slowing, with Greek operator Atlantic Bulk among the latest to implement the system on two ships, on a trial basis.
With a fleet of more than 20 Ultramax and Supramax bulk carriers trading worldwide, the company has partnered with satcom service provider Navarino to investigate how Starlink might support operations in areas like rapid file transfers, software updates, and crew communications.
The initial pair of trial installations are on one ship operating in the Mediterranean, on a crossing from Greece to Gibraltar, and another in the Central American region.
“So far, we have been very happy with the results on both ships – we have seen speeds at sea of between 20 to 35 Mbps download, and 5 to 25 Mbps upload, as well as very low latencies, which means that there has been a significant improvement in terms of speed. Everything is much faster now, from file synchronisation to updates, and in all areas using applications has become much more efficient,” said Atlantic Bulk IT Manager, Michael Sakellis.
“Crew welfare is one of the most important areas for Atlantic Bulk, and I am pleased to say that the crew are also very happy with the speed of the Starlink service, they are simply able to do much more in terms of their communications with loved ones, like video calling, and generally in the way they use their personal data allowance.”
“What’s more, we found that the Starlink installation process was quite straightforward – Navarino provided us with an installation guide which was helpful, and in fact on the vessel in Central America, the Captain and crew were able to install the antenna themselves. Overall, I would say that we are very pleased with this new high-speed connectivity option, and I think it will be seen on most merchant ships in the future, alongside existing legacy satellite services.”